USDA Scientists and Partners Investigate Hawaiian Tree Deaths

A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their collaborators are pursuing a fungal killer that’s attacking Hawaii’s native ‘Ōhi’a trees. Fortunately, their efforts are already turning up important new leads and tools to counter the fungus, known scientifically as Ceratocystis fimbriata.

Identified in 2014, C. fimbriata causes a vascular wilt disease called “Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death” (ROD) that’s killed hundreds of thousands of ‘Ōhi’a trees in forest and residential areas. Affected areas include the Big Island of Hawaii’s South Hilo, Puna and Ka’ū districts, according to Lisa Keith, a plant pathologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Hilo, Hawaii. Continue reading

Invasive Plant, Pest and Disease Awareness Month Kicks Off

Big, creepy, and horned, the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) loves to feed on—and kill—coconut and other palms, banana plants, and more.  This invasive species, detected in Hawaii in December 2013, makes the perfect poster child for USDA’s Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month—a child only its mother could love.

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